The Indigenous peoples of the United States and Canada developed sophisticated agricultural practices, traditional health systems and ceremonies, and vibrant economies and technologies that supported the flourishing of their peoples long before the arrival of European colonizers. This immense Indigenous wealth was not localized to any one community, but was shared across the continent and beyond through extensive networks promoting the exchange of goods, knowledge, and technology. These networks and traditional knowledge systems persist today, including through the continued exchange of Indigenous goods and wisdom across borders, and the numerous modern highways and railways that originated as Indigenous travel routes.
Although the United States and Canada have unique legal relationships with the Indigenous peoples of North America, they have a shared history of colonization and modern oppression that has led to ongoing disparities in health, education, energy, incarceration, and economic opportunity. Despite such long-standing violent practices, Indigenous innovators continue to harness traditional knowledge and technology for the benefit of their communities and our shared earth, driving solutions to promote energy, food, and data sovereignty, climate resilience, Indigenous businesses, culturally grounded education, and positive physical and mental health outcomes. Whether working in their hometowns or across the medicine line, Indigenous innovators are building upon the legacy of exchanging resources, knowledge, and technology to address modern challenges with historic roots.
In recognition of this longstanding history, and those who continue its legacy, the 2023 Indigenous Communities Fellowship is open to all innovators supporting community-based solutions by and for Indigenous communities across the United States and Canada. To that end, Solve seeks solutions that:
Strengthen sustainable energy sovereignty and support climate resilience initiatives by and for Indigenous peoples.
Support the creation, growth, and success of Indigenous-owned businesses and promote economic opportunity in Indigenous communities.
Drive positive outcomes for Indigenous learners of any age and context through culturally grounded educational opportunities.
Promote culturally informed mental and physical health and wellness services for Indigenous community members.
Solve welcomes applications focused on people Indigenous to anywhere within the United States and Canada, including territories.
Solutions do not need to be cross-border or international in scope and can focus on specific Indigenous communities in either country.
Unlike the Global Challenges, the Indigenous Communities Fellowship considers concept-stage solutions for potential selection as Fellows.
The Fellowship is open to team leads who are non-Indigenous, though the application should show a clear connection to and buy-in from the community or communities.